The issue of health care affordability is challenging in the modern world. U.S. policymakers do their best to provide many citizens with medical services, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a significant step toward achieving this goal. It was signed into effect in 2010, and one of its main goals was to decrease healthcare costs. Even though the ACA is expected to result in a few advantages, it is still a controversial phenomenon. Thus, one should analyze the financial impact of the ACA on various groups of stakeholders to determine its influence on the health care industry.
To begin with, one should note that the ACA is designed to affect various components of the U.S. health care system. These components are known as stakeholders, and the ACA influences three broad groups, including health care providers, health insurers, and consumers (Housten et al., 2016; Irigoyen, 2017). The health care providers refer to all those hospitals and other establishments that provide ordinary people with relevant services.
The ACA could not but influence this group of stakeholders to bring some changes to the medical industry. Since the ACA tries to change the health care costs, it has essential meaning for appropriate insurance companies. Finally, consumers represent the greatest and the most significant group of stakeholders for the ACA because this policy was developed to improve the quality of the services for ordinary people. Thus, the people and establishments above stand for the principal stakeholders of the ACA.
Financial Impact of the Affordable Care Act
There is no doubt that the ACA has a particular economic impact on each group above. On the one hand, consumers benefit significantly from the ACA because it was its initial purpose to reduce citizens’ spending on health care services. Thus, new opportunities allow people to spend less money on their medical insurance. In addition to that, the ACA is said to result in financial benefits for health care providers, and two aspects prove it.
Firstly, the ACA forces all citizens to purchase insurance, which reduces “the expenses associated with treating uninsured patients” (Blau, Daines, Karl, & Wade, 2016). Secondly, Blau et al. (2016) state that higher insurance coverage rates result in more customers and, consequently, more revenues. On the other hand, health insurance companies do not deal with such positive consequences. According to Hall and McCue (2016), these establishments faced significant financial pressure in 2014, and not all companies managed to overcome it. Thus, one can state that the ACA has a positive economic impact on consumers and health care providers, while that on health insurers is the opposite.
Benefits of the Affordable Care Act
The information mentioned above has already presented some of the ACA benefits for various stakeholders. In addition to financial savings, consumers benefit from the ACA because it leads to better access to medical services (Courtemanche, Marton, Ukert, Yelowitz, & Zapata, 2018). Furthermore, it implies the treatment of mental disorders, various kinds of addiction, and chronic diseases, which is essential for many citizens.
The most significant benefits of the ACA for health care providers include a higher number of insured patients who will contribute to more financial gains. In addition to that, the ACA makes medical establishments to put their medical records on computers, which facilitates the process of data processing. Finally, affordable prices of medical services result in the fact that more people can purchase insurance, which creates more subsidiaries for health insurance companies.
Drawbacks of the Affordable Care Act
Even though the ACA seems to be positive only, it still offers some disadvantages for stakeholders. As for ordinary citizens, the main drawback refers to the fact that the benefits described above are not available for everyone. It means that those people who are not entitled to the ACA subsidies have to pay more than they did previously to purchase health insurance and employ medical services. When it comes to health care providers and insurance companies, the main disadvantages for them are understandably represented by financial issues. Even though it has been stated that they can reckon on more benefits, new taxation liabilities are not beneficial for the insurers (Hall & McCue, 2016). Furthermore, higher taxes also represent a significant financial burden for health care providers.
The Affordable Care Act is an essential incentive for the U.S. health care industry. This reform tries to provide numerous people with more affordable medical services by introducing corresponding changes. That is why the given Act covers many agents of the health care system, including ordinary consumers, health care providers, and insurance companies. There is no doubt that the Affordable Care Act results in different financial results for each group of stakeholders. Furthermore, it is proved that the given reform leads to significant benefits for the stakeholders, but it does not mean that the Affordable Care Act is free from any defects. Thus, various agents are forced to deal with particular drawbacks caused by the Act under consideration. This information means that policymakers should bring constant changes to the Affordable Care Act to make it better for the medical industry.
Blau, B. M., Daines, B., Karl, J. B., & Wade, C. (2016). Key stakeholders’ stock returns and the Affordable Care Act. Journal of Insurance Regulation, 35(9), 1-25.
Courtemanche, C., Marton, J., Ukert, B., Yelowitz, A., & Zapata, D. (2018). Effects of the Affordable Care Act on health care access and self-assessed health after 3 years. Inquiry: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing, 55, 1-10.
Hall, M. A., & McCue, M. J. (2016). How has the Affordable Care Act affected health insurers’ financial performance? The Commonwealth Fund. Web.
Housten, A. J., Furtado, K., Kaphingst, K. A., Kebodeaux, C., McBride, T., Cusanno, B., & Politi, M. C. (2016). Stakeholders’ perceptions of ways to support decisions about health insurance marketplace enrollment: A qualitative study. BMC Health Service Research, 16, 1-11.
Irigoyen, C. (2017). The Affordable Care Act in the US (Obamacare). Center for Public Impact. Web.